Chapter 7

Optimizing Your Resources

In This Chapter

Understanding work and material resources

Creating resources to get your project done

Using resource groups and shared resources

Dealing with resource calendar settings

Projects are like giant water coolers — they’re gathering places for people. Projects also utilize equipment and materials. Those people, equipment, and materials are your project resources.

Unlike water coolers (you can take an analogy only so far), resources are also the means by which Project tallies up costs in your plan. Assign a resource to work for ten hours on a task, give that resource an hourly rate of $20, and you’ve just added a $200 cost to your project. Create a resource called cement, give it a unit cost of $200, and assign ten units (for example, ten tons of cement), and you’ve added a whopping $2,000 to the bottom line.

Using resources wisely in Project doesn’t involve only assigning them a cost. Rather, it’s a delicate art of combining the right resource with the right skills and assigning that resource to put in the right amount of time (or units) for tasks. And you have to do this all without overbooking anyone at any point in your schedule.

Because they affect timing and costs, resources are a big deal in Project. For that reason, many tools are available to help you create resources, make settings for how and when they’ll work, assign them to tasks, manage costs, and manipulate their workload. The first step in working with resources is ...

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